As you might have seen on my Instagram, my fantasy novel Age of the Ashers is now available in audio (don’t miss the giveaway below!). After producing four audiobooks now, I feel I have a decent handle on the tedious, albeit super-fun and rewarding process, and I’d like to share it with you fine folks today!
“The difference in demographics between ebooks, print, and audiobooks means that with an audiobook you can actually increase your market size, and even open new markets that you might never have reached otherwise.” – Kevin Tumlinson
I forget how I heard about ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange), but I remember that as soon as I did, I jumped on board and immediately began doing my research so I could produce my latest release at the time, Perfect Fit: Weekly Wisdom and Workouts for Women of Faith and Fitness.
Nowadays, there are several audiobook creation platforms, such as Findaway Voices and CD Baby, that are competing with ACX, but so far I’m sticking with ACX (no need for this author to reinvent the wheel just yet … ;-)). I’ve found it extremely easy to use and know from first-hand experience that both the voice talent and customer service are excellent.
Here are the steps you’ll take if you choose to produce your audiobook through ACX.
Oh! Before I hop into it, I’m sure some of you are asking, “How much does it cost?”
The answer is, frustratingly, “it depends.”
You can either pay the narrator a flat fee, or agree to a Royalty Share Deal in which you split the royalties 50-50 with the narrator, aka “producer.”
Due to budgetary restraints, I’ve opted for the latter option (each finished hour of audio typically costs around $200, which comes out to $2,000 for a 90,000-word book).
Step 1: Post a Project
- Create an ACX account and search for your book in the “new project” window. ACX will fill in its details.
- Once you select one of your books, ACX offers 3 choices: a.) Find someone to narrate and produce your audiobook b.) Sell your already produced audiobook c.) Narrate the book yourself and upload the audio file later (I chose option a.)
- Read and sign the terms and conditions agreement indicating you own the rights to your book and that you’ll distribute through Audible and ACX’s channels.
- Fill in your book’s description, copyright info, genre, and any specifics regarding the narration voice you have in mind: age, accent, dialect, gender, etc. My fantasy novels Moonbow and Age of the Ashers both feature teenaged female protagonists, so I specified that I was looking for a young-sounding woman with a “General American” accent.
Tip: To listen to narrator voices, click “Search” on the ACX home page and scroll to “Producers for Hire.”
Step 2: Hire a Narrator
- Using the tip above, find a few narrators you think would make great fits for your book and find out if they prefer an upfront payment or a royalty split. You may narrate yourself, but be warned – it requires professional-quality equipment, experience with sound editing, and lots of time you could spend writing!
- Use the “additional comments” box to tell the narrator a bit more about yourself and your “platform” (that dreaded yet oh so necessary word…), who your audience is, and anything else you’d like to share.
Step 3: Post a Script
- Choose a short, sweet, interesting excerpt, preferably one with plenty of dialogue and description, and upload it to ACX. This is another chance for you to “sell” your project to the narrator you want, as well as make sure they meet your expectations. Be sure to include proper pronunciations for exceptionally tough or foreign words.
- Here are the narrators I’ve used in the past (if you’re interested, click the links to hear a sample):
For Perfect Fit: Carla J. Hargrove
For Moonbow: Natalie Van Sistine
- Your narrator will post chapters as individual recordings, which you can listen to on the ACX site and then provide feedback to the narrator. Don’t be afraid to give feedback – it’s part of the process, and the narrator, if he or she is a professional, will be happy to accept it and make the necessary changes.
Note: Be aware that an audiobook’s cover art requirements differ from those of e-books and print books. You may have to contact your cover designer and ask them to make the changes. Mine didn’t charge me for this – it should be a quick and easy task.
Step 4: Publish!
You, along with your narrator, must confirm that the book is complete and ready for publication. For a few days your book will be in the “processing” phase. After that, you’ll get an email from ACX informing you that the book is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible, yippeeeee!!!
Tip: Email ACX after the release and ask them to send you the 25 free promo codes so you can use them in giveaways, use them to give to reviewers, etc. You can get another 25 for UK listeners to use in the Audible.co.uk store.
To learn more about publishing your audiobook with ACX, I encourage you to visit their website: http://www.acx.com/